Is it just me? Is there something I’m not understanding? Can no one else see the obvious solution to Dundee’s financial black hole?
I understand the need for cuts. There is less money all round.
Who or what is to blame for that is an argument to be had at a national politics level.
The amount of money the city has to spend this year isn’t going to change no matter what blows are given and received in that unwinnable battle.
But, please, someone tell me where I’m going wrong?
There is a proudly-publicised, and very large, amount of money about to be spent in Dundee that – in my opinion – doesn’t have to be so big.
It will take a change of priorities, of course, a project that was going to take 10 years to implement might take a few years longer.
In October Dundee City Council trumpeted £230 million will be spent on active travel in the next 10 years.
Some of this will be covered by other organisations, but it is not yet known how much.
Why on earth are officers suggesting far-reaching changes to the services, cutting teacher numbers, closing Cairdy golf course, two libraries, the Mills Observatory and Broughty Castle – among other things – while councillors boast of spending so much on cycle paths?
Surely it’s as obvious as a slap in the face with a wet haddock that this active travel routes plan could be scaled back a little? Or the timescale could be spread over 15 years, or 20?
No active travel cuts in Dundee budget proposals
The budget will be finalised by councillors later this month and council leader John Alexander has already said he does not intend on taking many of the suggestions.
But as things stand, there is no mention of cutting or delaying active travel spending.
I think every part of the budget should bear some of the pain. That’s only fair.
Now cycling zealots will peenge (and I say this as a keen cyclist myself) that I’m wrong; that getting on a bike is the most important thing in the world.
But wait guys, before you get your lycra pants knotted up – explain why cycle paths are exempt?
Are cycle paths more important than libraries?
Why are libraries less important? Why are school crossing patrols to save kids’ lives not worth saving? Why can’t cycle lanes in Reform Street be laid in 2029 instead of 2026?
There are already plenty places to cycle. It’s not as if cycling would be banned.
In the coming financial year there could be £23 million (£155 for every man, woman and child in Dundee) spent on cycle paths – same again next year, and the year after – while education, services for the elderly, and safety wardens are savaged.
I am astounded by that.
Surely the city councillors, with their often-praised agile intelligence levels, can be flexible in their thinking on this?
Perhaps some of the £230m is from sources other than the city’s budget. Fine! Spend whatever is ring-fenced. But no more.
The people of Dundee deserve a full explanation on this.
Councillors – what do you have to say for yourselves?